Letters To the Editor: Paul Farash

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Arlington Park | Horsephotos

Bill Finley's column on the closing of Pompano Park used it as a textbook example of decoupling. And he warned of the possibility of such decoupling not being exclusive to the world of harness racing or other pari-mutuel wagering establishments; that Thoroughbred racing venues are just as vulnerable. Well there was evidence of such, for all to see, in Chicago in 2021.

Last June, I became aware of the potentially permanent closing of Arlington Park at the end of its 2021 season. As a 40-year fan of horse racing and having never been to Arlington, it became a priority to experience 'AP' before they closed the doors this past September.

The style, grace and beauty of Arlington was on full display for the two racing days I spent there in August. And to come to the understanding that Churchill Downs, Inc. was the organization responsible for its ultimate disappearance from the Thoroughbred Racing landscape became something I–still–cannot comprehend. Of all the corporate entities to shutter what can arguably be described as one of North American racing's crown jewel venues, for CDI to be the one to pull the plug on AP proves once and for all that a) Thoroughbred racing is NOT immune from decoupling; and b) anyone will do it should legislation permit.

I'm disillusioned very much by the fact that the Thoroughbred industry has just stood by and watched this take place, without so much as a whimper. And to think that it has occurred as a result of the desires of CDI–an organization one would think would have Thoroughbred Racing's best interests at heart–leads me to wonder how much the industry, in general, is willing to fight for its survival.

The closing of Pompano last night was a sad story in its own right. But the closing of Arlington Park last September was, in this fan's opinion, an indelible stain on CDI's reputation as an industry leader and an example of how decoupling is already running rampant.

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